tv Reliable Sources CNN December 4, 2011 11:00am-12:00pm EST
thanks for being part of my program this week. i will see you next week. stay tuned for "reliable sources." in the end, it took just five days for herman cain to leave the race. five days after the candidate denied an extramarital affair on cnn, a surreal moment before an atlanta station aired ginger white's account of a 13-year relationship, cain dropped his presidential bid yesterday with several swipes at the media. >> the pundits would like for me to shut up, drop out, and go away. >> but is cain just blaming the press for his own mistakes? new hampshire's biggest paper backs newt gingrich and conservative blogger enkwur rubinsays the track record of the right-leaning media has been embarrassing bad, really? plus, espn and the "syracuse" newspaper sit in on
an incriminating tape for a decade until bernie fine is fired over accusations that he was molesting boys. on that tape, fine's wife consoles an alleged victim. >> you know, he needs that male companionship that i can't give him. nor is he interested in me and vice-versa. >> he wanted to do me -- he wanted to me to touch him, too. >> did the news outlets make the right call? an exclusive interview with espn's top news executive. i'm howard kurtz, and this is "reliable sources." it was only last monday when wolf bill clintoner was interviewing herman cain on "the situation room," and cnbc producers saw on wirt that the fox affiliate was about to broadcast an interview with a woman who claimed to be the candidate's mistress. blitzer asked cain during the commercial whether he would address the explosive allegations, and he did, even though her account had not yet
aired. >> you say friend, i'm asking -- these are awkward questions, but i'll ask you the questions you're going to be asked. was this an affair? >> no, it was not. >> there was no sex? >> no. >> none? >> no. >> and if this woman says there is, she's lying, is that what you're -- >> wolf, let's see what the story's going to be. >> next up, atlanta station waga broadcast the sit down with ginger white. >> it wasn't complicated. and i was aware that he was married, and i was aware that i was involved in a very inappropriate situation, relationship. >> and yesterday, cain kept scolding the news business as he pulled the plug on his improbable candidacy. >> these thoughts and unproved allegations continue to be spinspin ed ed in the media and the court of public opinion so as to create a
cloud of doubt over me and this campaign. the pundits would like for me to shut up, drop out, and go away. >> joining us to examine the coverage of the blowup and the iraqi presidential campaign, jennifer rubin, from the "washington post." bill press, syndicated radio talk show host. and steve roberts, syndicated columnist and professor of media and public affairs at the george washington university. steve roberts, did the pundits try to shut him up? did the media want cain out this race? >> no. i think the -- the focus on his private life was totally justifiable. i was not a big fan of the original politico story which i felt had holes in it and didn't have on the record sources. >> it led to -- >> but led to other women coming forward. it led to ginger white, and the fact is this is -- what we're in now, howie, is the media primary. this before any vote is cast in
iowa or new hampshire. the press has not only the right, the obligation, the responsibility to vet these people, see how they stand up under fire, and in fact, part of what did cain in was not just the allegations, it's how he handled them and his total enability to react under pressure. >> jennifer rubin, i thought he was skating, he stayed up in the polls even though there was a drumbeat if the press. >> i thought the conservative media were worse. they were more accepting i think of his ridiculous excuses. >> was that? >> i think they did a circle around the wagons routine. which i didn't find appropriate. and i didn't do. but i think there was a sense that somehow this was some, you know, liberal media scam that had been cooked up. and so they felt some obligation in their contrarian way to stick up for him. after a while, it became impossible to sustain that narrative as more and more women came forward.
>> interesting that the liberal conspiracyists found five different women -- >> sneak three. >> it was this week that herman cain's attorney lynnwood said that the latest case, ginger white, 13-year extramarital affair she says, an accusation of private alleged consensual conduct, not a proper subject, he says, of inquiry by the media. in a presidential campaign? >> well, first of all, i warned you all against accepting a talk show host as a presidential candidate. you see what happens here? look, sure, it's a -- an appropriate subject in a presidential candidate. they didn't have that hesitancy when we were talking about consensual sex with bill clinton, for example. i have a different take. i don't think herman cain should be complaining about the media. i think he should be thanking the media. they took him -- we all took him seriously as a presidential candidate for a lot longer, i believe, than he deserved to. i mean, 9-9-9 didn't add up to 1-2-3. we all said, oh, he's got a
great economic plan. it wasn't, it was a scam. >> that wasn't -- i think actually what began to erode his support even on the conservative side was his absolute ignorance. and we saw this in a whole series of guests, primarily on fo foreign policy. he couldn't answers about his own economic plan. >> the single most important moment between cain and the media had information to did with sex at all. had to do with the "milwaukee journal sentinel" asking a legitimate question which she could not answer. that was the moment when his candidacy dissolved. >> the other day, cain, whose candidacy does d seem to consist largely of giving tv interviews and going on a book tour, not exactly spending a lot of time in iowa. he went on a talk show and talk good -- keeps using the phrase "character assassination." people going after him. ginger white, "i have no idea, unless the people i believe are putting her up to this, "maybe we believe ginger white, maybe we don't. but cain later did acknowledge that he paid her money, didn't tell his wife. so where is the conspiracy?
>> yeah. there's been this whole pattern of a lot of conservatives have attacked the media for their problems. and gingrich does it, everybody does it. but one of the reasons why i think this is so important and so justifiable, we don't know many of the issues any president is going to face. in 2000, george bush got exactly one question on the taliban in the entire campaign. yet his presidency was consumed by it -- >> how they react -- >> how we react under pressure. what judgment they've shown in the past. and this is absolutely central to understanding -- >> i want to turn the cameras around to the accuser. when any woman steps forward and says i was sexually harassed, he grabbed me in the car, the media scrutiny turns on them. here's ginger white speaking with george stephanopoulos on "good morning america." >> he calls you a troubled atlanta businesswoman and says your story is completely false. your response? >> it's very disappointing that he would call me troubled.
and, you know, it's unfortunate. i'm not here to say anything negative about mr. cain. >> when cain makes charges like that, of course the media pick up on them. fair or unfair? >> well, i think they cover both sides. they cover his response, they cover her. and i think -- >> but is it relevant that she had a history of financial problems and evictions and things like that when she is saying, look, i had this long affair. and she had the text messages at 4:00 in the morning and all the phone calls and all that. >> cain is going to bring up this, whoever is accused, will bring this up as a motive. that these people are gold diggers, looking for a book deal. i think it does come out in the wash. i think the public evaluates the credibility, the number of these people. one or two, you might understand. but after a while, we lost track. and i think they can make an evaluation about credibility and the way he reacts. we saw in that segment with wolf, how uncomfortable he was, how nervous he was. and how really -- uncredible he was in his initial response.
>> this is to say, howie, i understand why any woman would hesitate or think twice about coming forward. >> that was the point i was trying to get to. >> with any of these accusations. they know they're going to be vilified. he called all five of them lawyers -- liars -- >> lawyers and liars, close, yes. >> what a slip. and troubled women. then the media went out after -- boy, if they ever had any financial difficulty in their life and who hasn't, and so they become, you know, the target unfairly i believe. i understand why -- >> and by the way, the reason that ginger white came forward, i don't believe she's looking for a book deal. she said the reporters started calling her. in other words, she was going to be outed it. >> someone leaked it. look, even as strongly as i feel it is totally legitimate and even necessary that the press scrutinize the private lives, they have to be fair. they -- and that's why i was a little uneasy with the original "politico" story. i think that you have to play -- the press has to play by rules
of accountability and verification and not just print rumor. you've got to do it right. >> well, here's an issue that came up this week before the cain campaign imploded. i'll save this for you, steve. that is we learned that john kohl, washington lawyer, has been an unpaid adviser to herman cain's campaign, particularly after the allegations surfaced. he happens to be married to greta van us susteren, fox news anchor. he sat down once with cain's wife gloria. let's look at her most recent interview with herman cain. >> well, i grilled her, too, on the recent stuff that's come out. she believes you, she's behind you. >> yes, yes. 1 -- 200%. >> 200%? >> absolutely, no doubt in my mind. >> greta with both of them. now greta van susteren disclosed her husband's role on her blog but not her show that has two million problems.
is that a -- >> it's an ethical mistake. look at george will's column write being rick perry. he says as he always does in every one of his times of mentioning rick perry, his wife is an adviser to rick perry. that's the way you operate with transparency. >> his wife is a full-time paid staffer. and greta wrote, these are simply his friends, referring to her husband. many in the media have spouses, unlike my husband, what actually work for politicians or in government. so is this a legitimate issue or not? >> well, i think it is a legitimate issue. and disclosure is the key here. it's very hard not to run into ourselves coming and going in washington. george will and the rest. everybody is a journalist or media person or a consultant or a lawyer. i think these conflicts happen. and you should be credible -- >> special people have normal jobs. >> very few, yes. right. i'm married to an accountant. but most people aren't. so i think this comes up a lot. and i think they should err on the side of disclosure, and i
also think there are times when you don't want a reporter or someone writing or covering about a person who is intimately involved with that individual. >> full disclosure, greta's a friend of mine, okay. still, she should have -- she should have revealed this on her tv show. here's a problem, i think. she's got a great show, she get great ratings. she could have gotten herman cain, she didn't know john kohl's help getting cain. by not disclosing it she gives the impression that the only way she got the interview is because john's a friend of herman's, that's not the way it works. >> i wasn't suggesting that. i spoke to john kohl. i asked why greta had not disclosesed this on the program, and he said, she's used to me being friends with all of these people, it probably didn't occur to her. he was an informal adviser to sarah palin and the democrats. before this, i want to give a special -- i want to shine the spotlight of "reliable sources" on wgcl, an atlanta cbs affiliate, which did the following with the herman cain
tape, played a lie detector test. take a brief look. >> we sat down with investigator t. jfmt ward, one speech by herman cain yesterday -- >> ain't going to happen -- >> reporter: the other by sharon bialik from monday -- >> i was very surprised and shocked -- >> a lie detector test and you don't have the person in the chair with the thing strapped around -- give me a break. we'll get a break. coming up, jennifer rubin says the conservative meadera i can't are being downright daft whien t comes to newt. does she have a point? ♪ medicine that can't wait legal briefs there by eight, that's logistics. ♪ ♪ freight for you, box for me box that keeps you healthy, that's logistics. ♪ ♪ saving time, cutting stress, when you use ups that's logistics. ♪
paper endorsing newt gingrich, a very big paper. and prompting you to write, "the track record of the right-leaning media including talk shows and blogs, embarrassingly bad this election cycle, and amounts to circling the wagons rather than reporting accurately the serious missteps of people atop the polls. idea idea can would that be? >> i think part of the conservative media operates in
opposition to what they see as the liberal media. that's their cause, the way they gather an audience. that's entertainment for many viewers. i think sometimes that overrides their other function or role which is news coverage, news analysts, and the rest. i think we've had a lot of sort of defensive media from the right. i feel that's changing somewhat over the last few weeks. and the last few days, rather. and i think you see a more critical vein now that he is rising in the polls, now that there is a lot of questions about his past. now his past representation of freddie mac, now that his position's on global warming, the individual mandate are coming out, you're seeing a much more critical voice beginning to emerge -- >> among some. but say in the original piece there were some exceptions. but bill press, this indictment indicates that parts of the conservative media are corrupt, more interested in protecting or promoting certain republican politicians than they are in
being candid. >> i wouldn't use the word corrupt, but i do think they have an agenda. they have a mission. you know, i mean, so mitt romney today got the endorsement of the sioux city paper, whatever it is, that's significant in iowa. he got the joan doerendorsement dover, new hampshire, paper. mainstream media even played "the manchester union" as such a big deal for newt which, in fact, they've only been right twice since 1972. >> i have a theory. it was on a sunday of thanksgiving weekend. there was nothing else to write about. it was a dirth of news that weekend. >> jennifer is right. when you look at newt, face, it he's got more baggage than a fedex cargo jet. ethically challenged, morally challenged, all the -- he's got more flip-flops than mitt romney -- >> you can defend him and say he's grown, he's moved on, whatever. but not to grapple with that stuff. but i want to ask you, is it any different than what a lot of people would call the liberal media for barack obama? we don't see criticism on the
msnbc talk shows for obama except perhaps from the left. >> that's a fair point except i think the coverage from the left on obama's changed, too. i think that was a much fairer point in the campaign where he got far -- far more favorable coverage. but if you look at the recent pew study about all the candidates and the busytive versus negative coverage, the person in public life who got by far the most negative coverage in the study was barack obama. because the republicans are attacking him and he's got a lot of bad news to defend. >> one more point. you also said that you believe that the -- to the extent that some in the conservative media are protecting whether it's cain or newt is driven by a general antipathy toward mitt romney. you've interviewed him, you don't like newt or rick perry. are you fillering this conclusion to your own political opinions? >> i try to -- i is attacked him on his individual mandate. i have attacked him during the budget standoff for the summer for taking sorts of a timid view of things. so i think i try to dish it out
to most candidates. i think most candidates would agree that i've said nasty things about all of them. but i also think it's a question of some balance. there are other candidates in the race, for example, who have been entirely ignored by the conservative media. even though they espouse consistent conservative views that you think they would enjoy. and so i have gone -- rick san dorm. and to a certain extent michele bachmann. i have -- and i will admit to this, i have gone out of my way in some instances to provide coverage with i think it's been lacking on the right. >> you set me up for the next segment. when we return next, mitt romney gets rather testy in an interview with fox news. was bret baier really badgering him? [ marge ] psst. constipated? phillips' caplets use magnesium, an ingredient that works more naturally with your colon than stimulant laxatives, for effective relief of constipation without cramps. thanks. [ professor ] good morning students. today, we're gonna...
mitt romney doesn't do many interviews. in fact, he's on the cover of "time" this week, "why don't they like me," cover story. didn't give an interview, no cooperation to "time" magazine. he did sit down this week with fox newschannel's bret baier, and thing got a little bit heated. take a look. >> how can voters trust what they hear from you today is what you will believe if you win the white house? >> well, your list is just not accurate. >> do you think a mandate
mandating people to buy insurance is the right tool? >> i don't know how many hundreds of times i've said this, too, this is an unusual interview. all right, let's do it again. >> as we were walking in the walk and talk and after we finished, he went to his holding room. and then came back and said he -- he didn't like the interview and thought it was uncalled for. >> bill press, was bret baier overly aggressive in asking "uncalled for" questions? >> i love that. this is an unusual interview for fox is really what mitt romney was saying. no, he was not over the line. i thought it was excellent journalism. he asked good questions. he was very persistent but low key. he wasn't offensive at all. and the one that mitt romney really got hung up on was a question about, okay, you said one time that 11 million americans who are here illegally, members of the communities, whatever, should all go back to mexico. now are you -- you stick with that or not? that's a yes or no answer. >> what do you make -- >> not a gotcha. >> what do you make of bret baier going on o'reilly and making public romney's private
comments of dissatisfaction with the interview? >> that probably was not a good idea. bret baier i admire, i thought he did a very good job. fox before 7:00 is a first rate news organization. and if you want to maintain your credibility, you shouldn't blur the lines by going on o'reilly. all he did was throw romney's own words back at him. reminds me of one of my favorite political stories, used to be told about barry goldwater rally, old "new york times" report, used to tell the story. woman comes running out of the rally, tears streaming down her face, saying stop them! stop those reporters! they're writing down every word he's saying. throw his words back at him -- >> mitt romney and his wife on the cover of "parade" magazine, soft focus interview. you've talked around it. he hasn't been on a sunday show in a year and a half. why isn't the press calling him out on his lack of accessibility? >> i think they have, but it's interesting why he hasn't done it. if he did it more he probably would get used to it. he's been good in the debates. he can state his views with
clarity and with flewensy. i think it's mistake as we saw in 2008 to shield them from the media. i think it's better to get them out, get them to be accessible and to defend themselves. when he speaks for himself, he can articulate his views and has given speeches explaining incon consistencies. >> and a magazine points out that mitt romney of all the candidates, he's won who's got experience, he's got the money, the discipline. the issues, the economy, and on the business -- >> he makes mistakes. >> so he makes mistakes? he'll sit down with reporter and make mistakes, he's human. >> i agree. but -- >> i know -- >> but the clip of him saying the economy should hit bottom, foreclosures should hit bottom, which is being thrown back at him in democratic ads, that's the kind of mistake that -- >> in our final seconds, a news max-sponsored debate, the conservative magazine, to be moderated by donald trump two days after christmas, newt is already in.
what do we think of the donald coming back on to the scene? >> i'll say something, i would never otherwise say, and that is ron paul is absolutely right. he's not going. he it says debases the presidential primary. i think anyone who shows up should be automatically disqualified. >> bill press will cover it. >> theater of the absurd is all i've got to say. >> trivialization to the max. he wasn't a serious candidate and isn't a serious person as a moderator of a debate. >> i bet it gets a lot of coverage christmas week. thank you very much for joining us. coming up in the second part of "reliable sources," espn's top news executive in an interview on why it took his network eight years to air an incriminating tape about the former syracuse university coach accused of molesting young boys? and what is worse, what ann coulter said to get bleeped on msnbc or what a chicago anchor dare said about santa claus? we're america's natural gas
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by syracuse university's assistant football coach. that's faced by "the excuse post standard" and by espn when they heard the 47-minute tape. >> bernie is also in denial. i think that he did the things he did, but he's somehow through his own mental telepathy has erased them out of his mind. >> no, i think -- do you think that i'm the only one that he's ever done that to? >> no. he needs -- that male companionship that i can't give him. nor is he interested in me and vice verse a. and it's just wrong, you were a kid, you're a man now, but you were a kid. >> he wanted to do me, he wanted to me and me to touch him, too. >> there was a quote that bobby davis created a phony tape overall. espn reporter mark schwartz taped an interview in 2003 with bobby davis. >> we always sleep in the same
bed and would grab me every night during the night and talk to me before we'd go to bed. and just, you know, just be -- fondling me and touching me. >> reporter: espn did not report the story back in 2003 because we could not find any corroboration. >> fine's lawyers have declined to comment saying that "would only invite and perpetuate ancient and suspect claims." both the "syracuse post standard" and espn said they didn't have enough evidence to go after bernie fine who was fired this week by syracuse university. i spoke earlier with espn's vice president and director of news from the network studios in bristol, connecticut. vince, dorio, welcome. >> how are you, howard? >> very well. let's go to 2003. espn had the account of the accuser, bobby davis. you had the surreptitiously recorded tape of davis talking to coach bernie fine's wife. a tape that you described as damning. in retrospect, was espn too cautious in not reporting the
allegations? >> i don't believe we were, howard. what we had at the time was one source, bobby daves. he had told us a story about a well-respected coach there, had been at syracuse for many years. bobby put us to three sources that he thought would either corroborate his story or tell stories of their own about being abused by bernie fine. of those three, either they wouldn't talk to us or denied the story. he also gave us a tape that we were not involved in producing, he had taped -- >> you say you had doubts about the -- doubts about the reliability of the tape with lori fine? >> i didn't have doubts particularly about the reliability, but again, we weren't there when it was taped. so we were taking the word of bobby davis who had just come to us. the tape itself -- >> what changed? we're here eight years later, espn goes with the story. what changed to make your organization comfortable with putting that on the air?
>> well, what change sudden we got a second source, mike lange. okay, mike lange, a step brother of bobby davis', had also been abused or alleged to have been abused by bernie fine. he was one of the three people that bobby davis had told us about in 2003, but he would not talk to us in 2003. now we had two separate sources telling separate stories about their own experiences with bernie fine. and we had the tape. and i -- i should say the tape, while it is damning in terms of what she says about her husband, what he doesn't say in the tape, she offers no firsthand evidence of his actions in terms of abusing children, and she offers no characterization that her husband ever told her that. so there are disparaging comments in there, there's speculation by her. she talks about her beliefs, she talks about what she thinks.
but she never offers any firsthand evidence -- >> and is that the reason, vince dorio, that espn delayed in airing that audiotape after breaking the story until after the local paper, the "syracuse post standard" advanced the story with some reporting? >> we were preparing to air that tape. we probably would have aired it on monday. we ultimately got it out on sunday. we were in the process of, as i think you've probably seen, having it looked at by voice recognition expert who confirmed in comparing it with another tape that it was, in fact, lori fine's voice. we were editing the piece, selecting what we were going to use. would have aired on monday. when they broke the story of zack thomacelli and his executing the search warrant that caused the federal agents to search bernie fine's house, we wanted to get the tape out. we aired it that sunday. >> let me explain to viewers, that zack tomacelli is another
accuser who came forward with accusations of abuse by bernie fine. and your reporter, mark schwartz, talked to him and put him in touch with the original accuser, bobby davis. why did he do that? >> yeah. he did that and the reason he did it is he wanted to get bobby davis' talk on tomacelli to see if his description of his relationship with bern fine offered more credibility. in truth, that's not how we typically operate. putting two sources in touch with each other is something that we would not normally do. and probably would not have done in this case had we thought about it. >> in retrospect, you wish that that had not happened? >> correct. >> all right. some of the criticism has come from the other direction, some people saying, why would espn go with the story now. for example, columnist jason whitlock, i'm sure you saw, said it was morally criminal what espn did to bernie fine based on what he at least considers previously flimsy evidence. your response?
>> we believe we had enough evidence to report it. we were not satisfied with the evidence we had in 2003. we were satisfied with the addition of a second source with what we had in 2011. >> a lot of people, as you know -- >> can't say it any more directly than that. >> okay. a lot of people wondering fairly or unfairly why espn didn't notify the police in syracuse, new york, in 2003 since you were sitting on this audiotape. even if it wasn't totally verified. is that something that journalists should do? >> i understand the argument. and it -- it is a reasonable one coming from people who are not approaching this from a journalistic stance. and i will say, you know, greatly concerned with potential victims there obviously. however, as a journalist, you know, we operate by certain standards and principles, and in this case, those principles dictate that we're not an evidence-gathering arm for law
enforcement here. we look at our material, we gather information, we assess it, we vet it, we determine whether or not we feel wire able to report it. in this case, we felt we were not able to report it. that being the case, was not our job to deliver it to law enforcement. >> all right. finally, you know, college sports obviously is big business. espn in effect has a business relationship with syracuse university through your nearly $2 billion contract with the big east. i don't know if that was a factor or not. looking back, has it kept you up at night at all that for eight years, bernie fine allegedly, these charge have not been proven, allegedly was able to continue with the con dhaukt espn was tip -- conduct that espn was tipped off to eight years ago? >> well, as noted, we obviously are sympathetic to potential victims there. and certainly that gave us pause over the years. i wish that had not been the case. however, given what our charge is, giving the journalistic standards that we exist by and that influenced our decisions, i believe we did the right thing here. i would do it again.
skois scand syracuse scandal in a moment. but jerry sandusky, the former football coach charged with abusing young boys, had an interview where he said the fact this he liked to shower with boys, wrestle with boys, and sleep in the same bed with boys was, "being twisted." >> if i say, no, i'm not attracted to boys, that's not the truth because i'm attracted to young people, boys, girls -- >> yeah, but not sexually. you're attracted because -- >> yeah, i enjoy -- that's what i was trying to say. >> joining us in washington, mike wise, host at wjfk rye. in las vegas, jason whitlock, columnist for foxsports.com. that times time interview, did the paper -- was the paper appropriately skeptical about what was an obvious plea for sympathy by jerry sandusky? >> jerry sandusky is a very troubled person. and so it's hard for me to
criticize "the new york times" at all for, you know, giving the guy a platform. i -- i think they're just -- if the guy is going consent to interviews, i think "the new york times" wants to put his story out there so we can better understand a person who is very deeply troubled. >> and mike wise, the "times" asked the right questions. really struck by some of the answers. >> yeah, reporter, former colleague of mine, did a good job. it was four hours over two days, wasn't a 20-minute hit and run. nonetheless, yeah, there's a part of me that, like the vince doria interview, feels like i'd like to see passion. if you're completely innocent, like to see a little more emotion. that's just me. >> and speaking of espn's vince doria, you watched my interview with him about the syracuse university allegations. jason whitlock, you say even no espn should not have gone with the story. this is not another penn state. and as i mentioned to doria, you say that what the network did to
bernie fine was morally criminal. why? >> well, howard, i think there's two different aspects. the way they presented the story originally was morally criminal. i think it did a disservice to the alleged victims. i think it did a disservice to bernie fine. i think it did a disservice to jim boeheim. the story was told so sketch illy and in such a juvenile fashion. they didn't air the audiotape with the original story. if you aired that story originally in context, then perhaps jim boeheim doesn't have such a strong reaction in defense of bernie fine. then perhaps people aren't questioning the credibility of the accusers. if you air it properly the first time and don't wait ten days to air the audiotape, people digest the story differently. >> right. >> and people don't feel like bernie fine has been wronged here because the original report
raised a lot of questions about the accusers and made you wonder, well, hold on, they must have more than just these brief snippets of comments from lange and davis. >> let me jump in, jim boeheim, syracuse basketball coach who defended his assistant coach, bernie fine. likewise, espn had two alleged victims making on-the-record accusations and bernie fine refusing to comment. why isn't that enough to go with? >> it's enough to go with. but again, it's the context in which you present it. and having not known the background of this and seeing -- the first part that comes into my mind is, did you just throw this story out there because the penn state scandal has made it okay for you to -- to throw out there. >> in other words, the climate has changed -- >> the climate has changed, rights. >> suspicious of college sports -- >> paradigm shift. we're covering compiled sexual abuse in sports. and that made me wonder if this
became a hot story. >> with the atmosphere very different eight years ago when espn had this videotape, had this audiotape, excuse me, should the network at that point have gone with the story? vince doria says we didn't have corroboration. >> it bothers me that a multinational conglomerate news organization advocates what i call important responsibility and puts that -- poornl responsibility and puts that behind professional responsibility. i think the idea, journalism ethics, the idea that anybody wants to hide behind that right now is really bothersome on many levels. who it is. if it's the "syracuse post standard," or the smallest newspaper in america, if one kid -- we say allegedly, but if one kid was abused, after that audiotape came out and you had ahold of it for eight years, that's on your conscience. >> jason whitlock, you brought up penn state and said that espn's embarrassingly slow
reaction to the scandal has mad the syracuse story. but that's an assumption on your part, season it? >> it's certainly an assumption on my par, but listen, the people running espn are human beings. they react to criticism poorly like most human beings. they were criticized for their coverage of the penn state deal, and they did want to own the syracuse story. and now they really do. their actions in 2003 are now being questioned. espn's a major part of this story. mark schwarz, his handling of the third accuser, and giving him to bobby davis, he's now a part of the story. the journalists at espn, is editors at espn, if this ever goes to court, they'll be on the witness stand more than likely. that's the last place a journalist wants to be. >> on that point, you interviewed another accuser in the syracuiyracuse case who als alleges he was abused by bernie fine. what did you make of espn putting him in touch with the
original accuser, bobby davis? you heard him say he wished that hadn't happened. >> completely inappropriate. he's put the police, the district attorney, the potential prosecutors in a very tough spot. it could be argued -- if they got search warrants based off of tom se tomicelli and argues that davis gave him information to tell the police, those search warrants might be thrown out. espn's improper handling of this, in 2003, turn your information over to the police and wait for them to investigate and then break your story. this needed to be handed over to professional investigators, not espn trying to control and manipulate potential witnesses and potential accusers. they've created a gigantic mess. >> turn the information over to the police. turns out the police did know about this years ago, but is it
the job of journalists to go running to the cops if they can't prove anybody? >> for one, mark schwarz, espn, anybody at "syracuse post standard" that worked on this story, you get some kind of credit for making sure this gets out there at some point. but to wait that long, i have a real problem with it. if we're going to hide behind journalism ethics, where are we as a society? if that's what's more important. >> hold on. you're saying protect the kids. >> yeah. i'm saying this wisn't a watergate situation, bringing a president down. this is possibly a child being sexually awe abused. if you could prevent one more from being sexually abused, we always say allegedly, you need to take that precaution. if any news organization doubts that, you need to go work for another news organization. >> another conversation. last comment, jason whitlock. got about half a minute. >> well, just on that final point, if they had information that they believed a terrorist was going to bomb some location
but they couldn't prove it and it couldn't go to publication, i guarantee you they would call the police. so, this journalism ethics deal is just garbage. >> and corroborating that. >> the right thing to do -- the right thing to do was to go to -- >> go to the police. >> i'm sorry. >> espn tough situation, espn being criticized from both sides. we have to go. jason whi lock, thanks for stopping by this morning. still to come, ann kouler gets bleeped, morni"morning joe" get accused of exism? ♪ get outta the car. get outta the car. ♪ are you ok? the... get in the car. get in the car! [ male announcer ] the epa estimated 42 mpg highway chevy cruze eco. from spending time together,
time now for our "media monitor," a weekly look at hilts and errors in the news business. i was watching ann coulter on "morning joe" the other day and was thinking she started to sound reasonable when she brought up mitt romney's 1994 race against a man she despises, ted kennedy. as she railed against other politicians, msnbc hit the delay button and cut her sound. >> you're flipping from positions you held within five points of taking out value yum and pestilence. we have romney and gingrich --
[ no audio ] >> coulter later told joy behar she had uttered an insult based on the slang for male genitals. stay classy, ann. i'm all for robust debate but using the kind of language we did her about a senator who's no longer with us seems pretty blanking excessive. the reviews of this portrays mika brzezinski racing to the show in a skimpy running outfit while joe scarborough, willie geist and the boys stagger in after a night of drinking, smoking, and partying. ♪ dance to the music >> my professional reaction? seriously? it's a parody. they make fun of themselves. they all played along.
some of these critics are in dire need of a humor transplant. this wasn't funny. a routine christmas segment on santas on the mall, but robin robertson chose to play the grinch. here's what she said. >> stop trying to convince your kids that santa is santa. febt about it. that's why they have high expectations. they know you can't afford it. ask some man in a red suit? >> no santa? says who? the next night she had to admit that kids might have been watching. >> it was careless and callous to say what i said in what could have been mixed company. i would never spoil it intentionally so, i sincerely apologize. >> don't mess with santa claus. at least in front of a television camera. that's it for this edition of "reliable sources." i'm howard kurtz. join us next sunday morning for another critical look at the media. "state of the union" with candy crowley begins right now.